In my continuing series profiling the leading Content Creators in the real estate industry, Allen Buchanan, perhaps more than anyone, sets the bar for how to use content as a way of branding yourself. He was one of the first, and remains one of the best. In addition to being a highly regarded real estate professional in California, Allen has also been a distinguished voice in the commercial real estate blogging community since he started his Location Advice publication in 2010. Ever the forward thinker, Allen is also the creator of the popular YouTube video series “Tuesday Traffic Tips,” where he creates weekly, 1-2 minute clips offering advice to commercial real estate professionals. If there was a CRE blogging Mount Rushmore, Allen would undoubtedly have a place for his mug reserved on it, because when it comes to creating CRE content, Allen has a flair and passion that’s wholly his own.
- You were one of the first professionals to actually start creating your own content to market yourself. When did this start and what was your initial strategy?
Allen: When our world changed in 2008, the real estate market crashed and my personal brokerage model imploded, I chose to go back to work, albeit in an entirely different way. Social media was gaining traction in the B2C space and I was using Facebook to spy...err, communicate with our college-aged kids. My wife, Carla, was attending FIDM in Los Angeles and one of her professors touted the benefits of a social media strategy for apparel manufacturing and marketing. My wife suggested that I "work out loud"... a term she coined to describe blogging. I doubted ANYONE would care what I had to say, but plunged forward...following the lead of some early adopters, Coy Davidson and Duke Long. Initially, my strategy was to "flood the zone" with a post a day. I soon realized this was unsustainable and tapered back. I have now settled in to a comfortable content creation pace. I write one Location Advice post, one post for The News Funnel’s blog, and produce one TUESDAY Traffic Tip VIDEO each week. All three appeal to a different audience.
- Your blog has become one of the most widely read in the CRE space. How did you build your following and how have you gone about trying to position yourself as a professional using the blog?
Allen: Very kind of you to say that, Michael! I built the following organically through consistent original content creation and engagement. I must say that Twitter aided the cause tremendously. I knew Duke and Coy, but I met Linda Day Harrison, Matt Smith, Barbi Reuter, Howard Kline, you, Lindsey Imperatore, Matt Heinle, Michael Griffin, Chris Clark, Bridget Willard, Michael Bull, ALL through a Twitter convos that led to an offline relationship.
Location Advice is industry specific topics targeted at owners and occupants of industrial buildings. The Traffic Tips appeal to brokers, as the videos offer brokerage advice. My News Funnel blog allows me to exercise my creative voice with social media, technology, and related topics. Because I have been practicing CRE since Reagan's first term, I believe I have a wealth of knowledge to share. These three platforms allow me to share my knowledge.
- You are incredibly active all over social media. How do you find the time and how has it helped your career?
Allen: I don't watch TV, I'm an early riser, and I use "down time" (waiting for clients or others) to connect and engage. As mentioned above, social media has allowed me to become nationally visible and to engage with industry experts. Reading content from some VERY smart people keeps my perspective sharp.
- What the heck is the "Tuesday Traffic Tip?"
Allen: Tuesday Traffic Tips are bite-sized, (1-2 minute) videos filmed in a palatial studio (my car) with the intention of providing pragmatic bits of advice to CRE brokers who don’t have time to waste, just like myself. The topics for each post often stem from my own personal experiences, and vary from situational advice to talking points in the sector that are currently gaining momentum (how best to conduct CRE business with a baby boomer, for example).
- What are some of your favorite content sites where you draw inspiration from? How about also your favorite bloggers?
Allen: I read The News Funnel, CREOutsider, PICOR, theBrokerList, The Economic Collapse by Michael Snyder, You Too Can be Guru by Bridget Willard, Carol Stephen, Ethan Jacobs, Skip Prichard, Second Time Around, CRE App Review, and of course Duke and Coy. Additionally, I never miss a video by Leigh Brown, Howard Kline, Bridget Willard, and Michael Bull.
- What’s the most important advice you would give a real estate professional who wants to get involved in social media?
Allen: Three things:
- Learn from those of us who have early adopted...including the mistakes we've made
- Pick something that is sustainable. For some, that may be several platforms of original content creation. For others, it might be curating one post weekly.
- JUST DO IT. The blog doesn't need to be perfect, you don't need thousands of followers. Pick a course and GO...TODAY!